Pampered cows pay off for farmer
There is reason to envy Jusuf Arifajic's cows. His animals sleep on mattresses in a barn with a computerized air conditioning and lighting system. They are bathed regularly, get a massage whenever they feel like it and receive the occasional pedicure.
Relaxing music makes sure milking is not stressful.
"Nobody should envy my cows. Everybody should just realize that the visa for the future is science," said Jusuf Arifajic, the 52-year-old farmer everybody around Kozarac in northwestern Bosnia is talking about.
Arifajic and his 25 employees monitor every corner of the rubber-floored barn on computer screens. Most of the animals prefer to hang out by the six automatic car wash-style brushes, enjoying massages. A computer regulates the temperature, the quality of air and the lighting, keeping the cows healthy.
Arifajic's calculation: Pampered cows give five liters more of milk a day. Multiply that by hundreds of cows and "although initially expensive, advanced technology really pays off in just a few years," he said.
Arifajic brought the concept of pampering cows from Norway, where he lived as a refugee after fleeing from Bosnia's 1992-95 war.
Arifajic invested $11 million into the farm that started four months ago with the importation of 115 Norwegian Red Cows. The animals are a tough and hornless animal bred over the past 75 years to produce more and better milk. Arifajic wants to eventually expand to 5,000 cows.
Critical thinking challenge: How does the farmer get an ROI (return on investment) by spending money to pamper his cows?